FCC ISSUES NPRM TO ELIMINATE CODE REQUIREMENT

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Jul 21, 2005.

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  1. NE4BT

    NE4BT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's About Time!!!

    I have been in the electrical/electronics field for well over 30 years, and have been "playing" with this stuff since the 9th grade, and I have YET to have a need for the antiquated form of communications, known as CW or Morse Code, but, you know what, I use computers and radios most every day. [​IMG]
     
  2. N2NH

    N2NH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Funny thing is if you don't know the code, on most bands you can't use 1/2 of the band. You will get HF priviliges but only on the Phone portions. So what you basically have is a General/Extra phone license. Adding a letter to the database/license only confirms the limited status of your ability to operate.
     
  3. AD4MG

    AD4MG Banned QRZ Page

    Gene,

    If CW is antiquated, then you're not gonna want to start with another, nearly as antiquated mode, SSB.  And nearly all HF digital is done using, guess what? SSB transceivers.  So I have no doubt that a man of your qualifications won't be interested in this other antiquated mode either.

    CW requires minimal skill. SSB requires you push a button and jack your jaw up and down.

    I have worked at the plant you work in many times.  I appreciate what you have learned in your years at that facility.  I find it sad that you couldn't expend the minimum necessary effort to learn 5 wpm CW.

    But you are happy with your decision I suppose.  Now, while I and thousands of other hams enjoy our HF privileges, you can continue doing what you have done now for almost 3 years ...

    just keep on waiting!

    The FCC may or may not act on the NPRM soon.  Given a choice (the same I had, except code requirement speeds were higher by a factor of 4), I would put forth that minimum effort and do the 5 wpm.  It's not like you ever have to really use CW!

    73.
     
  4. VE7RFH

    VE7RFH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Morse Code CW is as valid a mode as any other and without question requires the minimum in terms of equipment and signal strength for successful communication therefore making it extremely useful on occasion.  However it is no longer the primary mode for HF communication and has not been for many decades. The only group still using Morse Code to any degree at all are the Ham Radio hobbyists.  Morse Code no longer holds the pre-eminent place in commercial communication it once did therefore the need for Hams to be proficient in Morse Code in order to facilitate cross communication disappeared decades ago, along with any logical reason for retaining Morse Code proficiency as a Ham Radio license requirement. This does not by any means invalidate Morse Code as an interesting and challenging mode for Hams to use.  Morse Code proponents are welcome to promote the mode, as do packet communication and RTTY enthusiasts promote their special interests. Indeed, perhaps the ARRL could organise Morse Code speed tests and issue achievement certificates for folks to hang on the wall alongside their licenses and DXCC awards. Don't lock yourself into the past and continue to insist people master Morse Code in order to become 'proper' hams, that is holding Ham Radio back in the 19th century folks.
     
  5. N2NH

    N2NH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, to all those planning to upgrade into the "21st Century" Amateur License, best of luck. See you on the bands. Or not. Operating has always had a close link to CW when in a Solar Minimum or working hard DX. Time will tell when your experiences on the band will illustrate this inability. All "logic" to the contrary aside.
     
  6. KD5NCO

    KD5NCO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looks like we will get the R&O before this one sees 500 pages...OH well, don't matter, I even forget the call of the person waiting for the magic 500 already!

    At least a bunch of us got to embelish our post counts and exercise arguing skills.

    Any thoughts on when we can all get together again and politely discuss a subject that is near and dear to our hearts like we did here?
     
  7. KC0NBW

    KC0NBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    wrong again !

    canada is one of the roughly 25 countries out of the 200 or so in the world that has dropped the code requirement.

    the ''majority'' of the countries in the world have chosen to retain the code requirement for hf access

    you really should read up on the subject at hand before making comments.
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hello Sirs,
    Below is some more Humour for your Enjoyment or Not?


    How to Become a Sad Radio Amateur (NOT)

    Section A
    Introduction:
    This booklet is intended to introduce you to Amateur Radio, A Hobby that is challenging, rewarding, educational, reclusive, obsessive, and tends to be a little sad. It also serves to answer some of the questions which are asked by prospective nerds, or even existing radio amateurs about the hobby.
    What does amateur radio offer me?
    Amateur radio is unique in the freedom it allows you to develop and experiment with radio communication equipment, and sit for hours in a cold shed avoiding the outside world. It can even enable you to communicate around the world and waste a fortune sending fancy postcards to bizarrely located countries. Radio amateurs may make contact with people in any country, so long as the Johny-foreigners have learnt english or enough Morse code abbreviations. Radio amateurs are often at the cutting edge of radio technology and increasingly they are able to use their home computers to combine computer technology and radio, although on the other hand some prefer to still witter on for hours about the weather - using AM. By becoming a radio amateur you can prepare yourself for a world which is increasingly technology-based and hostile. For example, you can experiment with antennas, television, RTTY (radio teletype), data (including computer controlled communications such as packet radio), satellite communications and, of course, short or long range voice or Morse code transmissions. Or just "crack one off" over the pictures of commercial equipment in old copies of Practical Wireless.
    The hobby frequently leads to participants making lasting friendships both in the United Kingdom and worldwide, with other nerds they've never met. In this way it has proved to be a great asset to those who are socially inept, or who find having a life is a problem, because of the opportunity it provides to make friends. Many other amateurs are able to offer their services to the first aid organisations and even the police at public events and during disaster relief operations at home and abroad. This means feeling the power of holding a handheld radio in public, and perhaps even wearing a reflective tabard like the professionals do. For most amateurs, however, it is just the sheer excitement of monitoring hours of static that is so absorbing.

    The Novice Licence
    The Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence was introduced in 1991 with the aim of encouraging people of all ages, but particularly young people to take up amateur radio without knowing nearly enough about it. Novice licensees have been given small segments of the major bands, because we can't possibly let them loose on all the precious frequencies. Novices will have an all round taste of amateur radio in practice, such as how the fully-licensed will avoid them like the plague.
    Both classes of the Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence allow the novice to use a wide variety of frequency bands. Those permitted under the Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence (B) will allow regular contacts in a local area (a street or two) and occasionally at longer range, possibly several hundred yards. The Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence (A) gives access to additional frequency bands used particularly for long range communications. Novices using these bands will be able to make contacts with other countries, and other continents, very often using hesitant Morse code.
    Why must I take a radio and electrical theory examination before I can become a radio amateur?
    Because transmitting radio energy can really upset your neighbours TV viewing, stop the police hearing about your gran's mugging, electrocute your cat, etc. We've got to make sure you know your backside from your elbow, obviously. We can't have your neighbour's Coronation Street ruined with your 80m ragchew can we? Once you are licensed you can ask other amateurs on the air about the subjects you really ought to know about before being allowed anywhere near a light switch.
    Who runs the Novice Licence practical Training Course?
    The Novice Licence Training Course is run on the whole by bored amateurs who really want more people to talk to, preferably women or (unfortunately) young boys. It will be available at many remote and secluded locations throughout the UK. The aim of the course is to train novice licensees in the basic skills of amateur radio and to make sure they are well prepared for the mediocrity they'll find on the air.
    How do I go about taking the examinations?
    The usual way is to line the RSGB's pocket buying the RAE syllabus book, learn it back to front and then find a local amateur to explain it all. You'll wish you'd paid more attention at school in maths. Then you'll have to figure out how to get to the nearest examination 120 miles away on your pushbike, but that's just tough luck kiddo! Buy yourself a nice new HB pencil and rubber, and prepare to endure a tedious multiple guess paper.
    What do the examinations test?
    You'll face questions on obscure technical details that you'll very quickly forget in the following years, and things you'll never need to know. Just for a laugh we'll throw in a question or two on formulae that never appeared in the book you've learnt. To be fair, we'll always throw in a dead easy one about the phonetic alphabet although the ulterior motive is to make you laugh at the absurd choice so that you may be asked to leave the room.


    Section B
    Types of Licence
    There are two types of amateur radio licence, the full Amateur Radio Licence and the Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence. There are two classes of each licence:
    1. Amateur Radio Licence (A)
    This licence permits the use of all the frequency bands allocated to the amateur service, including the HF (high frequency) bands which may enable global communications unlike the VHF bands which also allow global communications but not as often (50MHz, satellite etc). To become a Class A licensee, it is necessary for you to have passed the Radio Amateurs' Examination and also the 12 words per minute Amateur Radio Morse test even if you only want to talk and never use CW in your life. This is quite plainly absurd but believe it or not there are plenty of existing amateurs who are quite happy with that since they've already suffered. For more details on this backwards thinking see the campaign for common sense at the http://nocode.org site. Holders of a Class A licence are able to proclaim that all amateurs should build their own equipment, master Morse up to a speed of 30 words per minute and should have played an active part in the previous war.
    2. Amateur Radio Licence (B)
    This licence only permits the use of frequency bands allocated to the amateur service above 30 MHz, which does not, however, normally facilitate communications with anyone interesting at all. Maybe the local after-news net on a Sunday, but you may as well give them a phone call. You'll find the calling channels are as dead as a decaying dodo, and spend your time listening to the local repeater's Morse I.D. every couple of minutes until someone passing through your godforsaken area decides to whistle on the repeater a few times without saying anything. Or maybe you'll be captivated by an obscure interest such as microwave TV and become a valued member of an exclusive group of, say 4 other such individuals, with your very own quarterly newsletter that campaigns for the hogging of several tens of MHz of spectrum that get used twice a year.
    If you happen to live in the same household as a Class A licensee you may effectively use all bands at any time. This is because a Class B amateur can use HF if supervised by a Class A amateur (of course they're there all the time) because a Class B operator will not have a clue what's happening without the superior ability of a Class A licensee there to guide them.
    The same licence document is ignored for both classes of licence. You'll find people signing /P just because they're using a portable! This rule changed back in 1977 - you now sign /P at a temporary fixed location (AND state the location), and use /M when Mobile, either on foot or in a vehicle, moving or not. Should amateurs still be allowed to operate if they haven't read their copy BR68 for nearly 25 years?!
    3. Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence (A)
    This licence permits the use of selected tiny portions of some of the less well used amateur frequency bands, including some HF bands. To become a Class A Novice Licensee, it is necessary for you to have successfully completed the Novice Licence Training Course run by the RSGB, obtained a pass in the NRAE run by C&G and obtained a pass in the 5 words per minute Novice Morse Test run by the RSGB. No wonder only ten people have chosen this option so far. This license allows you to acheive very little but learn more in order to get a real licence.
    4. Amateur Radio (Novice) Licence (B)
    This licence permits the use only of novice amateur frequencies above 30 MHz. To become a Class B Novice Licensee, it is necessary for you to have successfully completed the Novice Licence Training Course and then obtained a pass in the NRAE, and you will also have needed be brainwashed by someone who somehow managed to make radio seem interesting. You can then pester Mummy and Daddy into buying you a dual-band handie (or save a part of your pension each week for ten months for one) which you'll use for a week, maybe two.
    Conditions for Becoming a Full Radio Amateur
    You must:
    • be 14 years of age or over - children not welcome. Or rich ******s who throw thousands of quid at a new black box and have no idea how to work it;
    • have passed the Radio Amateurs' Examination, as set by the City and Guilds of London Institute (see Section C);
    • for a class A Licence, also have passed the 12,words per minute Amateur Morse Test set by the Radio Society of Great Britain (see Section D), which still makes us all giggle;
    • apply for a licence using the application form for an Amateur Radio Licence.
    • Wear your callsign with pride, preferably embroidered on a "NATO forces"-style jumper with the elbow and shoulder patches; similarly avoid anything even slightly connected with fashion or good taste;
    • Look down your nose at any mention of the letters C and B made together, preferably making a derogatory snorting noise, actual verbal insults optional;
    • Install a mobile station station in your car such that you resemble a CB-er, place an RSGB sticker in the rear window to assert your superiority, secure any equipment used in the vehicle such that it only injures passengers in the event of an accident;
    • Say the letters H and I instead of laughing, despite this being a Morse abbreviation;
    • Spend as much money as you are able on "black box" equipment, the objective being to be able to transmit on as many bands as possible, regardless of not having the correct antennas installed or being located in a deep valley;
    • Avoid your family as much as is possibly practical, spending hours in the car on the top of large hills, at home in a cold shed or attic, and preferably until well into the small hours;
    • Communicate at all times in long, dull monologues that you actually believe have other people on the edges of their seats, thus forcing your listener(s?!) to make notes in order to answer each point;
    • Communicate at all other times via a computer sending packets of data on narrow bands that are actually occasionally heavily used in built up areas - it's not radio as we know it, it just uses radio as a means to an end but it's the most interesting thing to most youngsters who don't even realise they're born these days;
    • Have a "project" lying about that forever remains unfinished, despite many hours of talking about it;
    • Report every signal received as "5 and 9" despite signal 9 meaning "EXTREMELY strong", this being to make other local amateurs think that you have a better station because they can hardly hear the station that you're giving the report to;
    • Cover the walls of your "shack" with QSL cards, clocks with differing time zones and/or maps of the world with some little squares shaded in;
    Licence Fees
    The annual fee for both classes of licence is currently £15.00. The licence is renewable annually and the fee must be paid before the anniversary of the issue date of the licence. Current amateurs who never use their gear must face this annual tax just in case they might want to become active at some far point in the future, because proving you once held a license is a bit difficult once it's lapsed. You have to present the orginal pass slip as proof, despite having sent it in the first place without it being returned. And you wouldn't want to lose your lovely G callsign for one of those horrid new M ones would you?
    Amateur Call Signs
    Article 25 of the International Radio Regulations (to which the UK is a party) says that the Amateur Service must use a system of licensee identification. These "call signs' are intended to:
    • help administrations at home and abroad identify sources of interference to other radio services so that corrective measures can be taken despite the fact that some other **** has been using your callsign.
    • no other reason, really. It's cool though, don't you think?
    The International Radio Regulations specify that a call sign in the amateur service should be made up of:
    • one or two characters + single digit + group of up to three characters.
    The UK currently uses call signs starting With the letter "M". A secondary element is added to the "M" prefix to indicate that transmissions are from a region other than England, and so are not worth replying to, as follows: Wales (MW), Scotland (MM), Northern Ireland (MI), Guernsey (MU), Jersey (MJ) and the Isle of Man (MD). It doesn't matter that their callsigns are longer, they're not English.
    Therefore a Class A Licensee living in Wales could have the call sign "M-WHO-CARES", and a Class B Licensee in Jersey could have the call sign "M-ANYTHING" as we'll not hear them from here.
    Call signs are normally allocated in strict alphabetical sequence but a particular call sign may be reserved (subject to availability) up to 6 months in advance for those sad enough to go out of their way to get their initials - even though those initials probably need the really embarrasing phonetics such as Romeo and Juliet. Callsigns can always be spelt out on the air using an unofficial code using the names of countries and capital cities - because a foreigner is far more likely to understand such good old English names better than the international standard NATO codes they learnt for their exam.
    Callsigns must be given at the start and end of every period of communication, or every 15 minutes, which is fair enough. Some operators insist that "period of communcation" means every "over" and so use their callsign before and after they say anything at all, and probably even when asking their wife for a jump.
    For more personal introductions, an amateur should spell his name with phonetics such as "The name this end is Nik, November India Kilo" regardless of how readable his signal is, as if that's the only part of the transmission that would be difficult to understand. This is especially silly when the operator's name is Charlie, Juliet, Mike, Oscar, Romeo or Victor.
    The format for the Novice call sign series has been decided as follows:
    • It starts with a 2! Ignore him!
    Can I get a refund if I stop using Amateur Radio?
    No, refunds are not offered for Amateur Radio Licences, but friends (that have loyally stuck by you) and family may well rejoice and hold a party. Welcome back to reality.


    APPENDIX A
    Frequency-Checking Equipment in Amateur Stations
    Many enquiries are received seeking advice on suitable apparatus for frequency measurement for use in amateur stations. You must waste a bundle of fivers on some wavemeter which you'll never use. Your handheld radio isn't going to suddenly change frequency bands is it? You must check your equipment and put all relevant details in your log book "from time to time". Most amateurs would argue that every 30 years could be described as "from time to time". In fact, just once in your lifetime may well suffice.

    APPENDIX B
    Log-keeping in Amateur Stations
    The license conditions state that a log must be kept detailing every contact, and every unanswered CQ call. This is to make the hobby even more tedious to newcomers, and to make sure that interference can be traced to you. It would of course be far more logical to only enforce log-keeping for a maximum of one calendar months when your station is under suspicion, but that would be too sensible. You'll enjoy looking back at all the stations you've worked in years to come, trust us. Power levels must be recorded in dB Watts, to confuse the elderly. Mode of operation must be recorded as, for example, "FHHJJF3448EEE" instead of "FM" because that's the way we like it. Tough. Dittos are not allowed. Any non-compliance will result in the confiscation of your licence, all of your equipment, sundry goods and chattels, perhaps your wife. And prison too, you criminal.


    APPENDIX C
    Repeaters
    Repeater stations are provided to enhance the range of mobile stations, because trying to work anything from a car on VHF/UHF is otherwise even more futile. Therefore all stations should use them to work their friends down the road, when a simplex channel would have done the job nicely. We cannot allow a repeater to be as useful as having your own PMR channel because we just can't. We'll spoil things by insisting that the repeater gives its I.D. in slow Morse code, piercingly loud, every couple of minutes so that monitoring the repeater is un-bearable. The excuse is that we've confused the word "repeater" with the word "beacon" and we're not going to change our minds about this, even though other countries have. Sometimes a repeater is even required to give its I.D. several times in a row, many times within one minute, while muting the audio from the mobile station desperately trying to pass his emergency message.




    A quick reminder that this is an attempt at humour. I'm a ham myself, if I have to admit it. If you actually want to have stern words with me may I politely ask you to go and have a sense-of-humour gland transplanted in.
    Why did I do this? To have a good moan about the negative aspects of one of my fave interests, and try and draw attention to the some issues such as the code requirement, lousy repeaters and log keeping, the "5 and 9" syndrome, etc. I hope it's been noted!
     
  9. AB8MA

    AB8MA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is the most intelligent statement I have yet read on the topic. And that comes from a strong Pro-Coder. Not necessarily proficient, but certainly pro.
     
  10. KC0NBW

    KC0NBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    here is an interesting question for you.

    tell us how much ham radio has advanced since the first day of the 21st century ?

    what new modes have taken over the majority of the communications on the bands ?
     
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